This street- and car-front spot now occupying the ground floor of the Chase Bank building parking garage at 2900 Weslayan, just down the road from Central Market, smelled like pancakes this morning, an actual human reader (and photographer) tells Swamplot.
And so it is likely to continue throughout the day and week: Baggy’s Grill, which opened for business here over the weekend, serves breakfast all day. You’ll also find burgers, sandwiches, and some Greek dishes on the menu. The new restaurant takes over from the shuttered Weslayan Café.
The 0.4-acre property on Westheimer a few blocks
west east of Weslayan St. where developer Randall Davis hopes to build a 20-ish-story condo tower has been listed for sale on commercial real estate portal CoStar, however, the highrise project is still in the works, a representative of the broker tells Swamplot. In the meantime, the site remains home to the closed-down Krispen furniture store pictured at top, whose owner, Pamela Parker, sold it back in late 2017 and vacated it after the new year.
The rendering shown above of what Randall Davis wants to do the site emerged early last month as part of a variance request that the developer submitted, seeking permission to build the tower closer to Westheimer than is typically allowed. Before the city planning commission could weigh in on the request, however, documents outlining single-family deed restrictions for the site turned up, and Davis withdrew his petition. A public hearing, at which the commission would consider getting rid of the deed restrictions, hasn’t yet been scheduled.
Photo: LoopNet. Rendering: Houston Planning Commission
In an email sent out to constituents earlier this week, a staffer for City Council member Greg Travis writes that the little red rectangle above — marking where Randall Davis has plans for a 50-unit condo tower — is subject to single-family deed restrictions. That doesn’t prohibit the developer from going ahead with the highrise at 3723 Westheimer, she explains, although it does mean Davis perhaps jumped the gun by submitting a variance request for the development to Houston’s planning commission last week. It’s now withdrawn that request and instead plans to hold a public hearing before the commission. The date is TBD, but it will “likely take place on February 28,” according to the staffer.
Residents of Westgrove Court — the subdivision along Eastgrove and Westgrove streets that the tower wants to move into — and others nearby will receive a written notice 15 days before it goes down. “If residents of the 38 single family home sites in Westgrove Court jointly file a protest (a letter signed by them),” she writes, “the Planning Commission will have to approve by 75% and not simply by a majority.”
On Monday, Nancy Sarnoff over at the Chronicle reported Davis was under contract to buy the 17,300-sq.-ft. property. It isn’t the first time someone’s tried to put something other than single-family on it: For decades, the single-story retail building shown above has been there. It sports a fenced-in patio at its corner:
Crescent Communities appears ready to deliver on the promise it made last summer to residents of The Georgian apartments at Westheimer and Willowick: that after tearing down their building, the replacement would include not just rental units, but some kind of “integrated retail” as well. The rendering at top shows just that: A 14,000-sq.-ft. collection of storefronts fronts both Westheimer and an off-street inlet wrapped by the planned 8-story building. In the second image, you can see the main entrance to the building and its 300 units off Willowick. Overhead signage on that facade bears the project’s name: Novel River Oaks.
Excavators starting demolishing The Georgian complex shortly before the new year, but still have some more left to pick apart. Over on HAIF, a handful of demolition photographers have been documenting the apartments’ final days since deconstruction began.
Renderings: Crescent Communities
The view from the Wallgreens parking lot at Westheimer and Weslayan St. has been a bit more scenic than usual this week since the 55-and-up Georgian apartment complex across the street started collapsing in order to make way for the new complex Crescent Communities wants to build in its place. So far, the set of 3 parking canopies that once buffered the building from Westheimer appear to have vanished. And the front façade of the building has been punched through, opening up the complex’s inner courtyard to the outside world.
Residents got some insight into what would be replacing their 114 units back in April when a letter giving them 6 months to vacate indicated that retail would be included in the new construction. Since then: silence about what those retailers might be. If they do end up flocking to some portion of 3.4-acre property, their likeliest location would be on Westheimer, in between the corner Cadence Bank branch and Frank’s Americana Revival restaurant that bookend the lot.
Photos: Philip Alter (demolition); Georgian Apartments (apartments)
Crescent Communities sent a letter last week to all residents of The Georgian apartments at 2511 Willowick, just north of Westheimer, letting them know that they’ll be kicked out of the complex in 6 months. The existing 114 units — home to residents over 55 — will be torn down and replaced with what the letter describes as “a new apartment building with integrated retail.” Crescent closed on the 53-year-old complex in 2015 after the purchase stalled the previous year.
“Obviously, the redevelopment of this site will require you to find a new home, and we are dedicated to assisting in this transition,” reads the letter. To that end, the owner is letting people out of their leases early, offering some financial assistance to relocate, and “engaging a relocation specialist to assist residents.” The final move out date is October 15.
At the northern end of the 3.4-acre property, townhouses line Wickersham Ln.:
Ancorian subsidiary CityLands has plans to plant a medical office building with street-level retail in place of the barrel-vaulted 1970 Goodyear auto shop at 3720 Westheimer. Leasing materials dub the new 40,250-sq.-ft. building the Surgery Center of River Oaks. However, the anchor tenant that CityLands says has leased more than half the structure’s square footage has a different take on its whereabouts — the partnership of doctors calls itself the Upper Kirby Surgical Center.
The rendering above shows a drive-up entrance fronting the planned building — which the developer says will include “integrated parking.” The lot that CityLands bought from the car center’s owner earlier this year backs up about 160-ft. north from Westheimer to abut the cul-de-sac of Locke Ln.
Changes are now slated to turn the Highland Village building at 2701 Drexel Dr. that Kate Spade took off from last year into what Sweet Paris Crepes & Café is calling its flagship location. The French pastry chain with 2 locations in Houston (and one in Mexico) plans to stuff a 136-seat restaurant into the former boutique just south of Westheimer in the fashion depicted at top, although some of those chairs will sit outside on the patio that’s planned in place of current slant parking spots. The fiery neon display behind the store’s transom window — pictured above with the lights off — will be removed, as will the lifesavers grids up above the storefront’s windows. Inside, the location’s 2,364 sq. ft. will include both a regular eating area and a private dining room.
Rendering: Sweet Paris Crepes & Café. Photo: Swamplot inbox.
Snapshots from the scenic Robbins Brothers jewelry store parking lot on the West Loop show how much progress has been made on the 34-story Arabella (formerly Arábella) condo tower next to the Target parking lot on San Felipe. Construction on the bumpy building began in 2015 on a portion of the former Westcreek Apartments at the corner of San Felipe and Westcreek. The photo at top shows the new building at 4521 San Felipe towering over the 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building, as well as the 17-story Wilshire condo tower.
A closer view of the trio:
The blue dot stuck on the window of West Elm’s Highland Village furniture gallery announces the store’s plans to decamp from its spot below and next to RA Sushi, near the eastern side of the shopping center on January 21. Both West Elm and RA Sushi’s only other Houston locations are at CityCentre. That West Elm location opened in 2015, while the current spot at 3922 Westheimer has been in business for over 9 years.
Halloween is almost upon us, and again the full-store gift wrapping and Christmas trees have gone up at the Highland Village shopping center — as these pics sent in by a reader show.
You now have 9 full shopping weeks before Christmas (and a little less than 5 before Thanksgiving), but if you’re still getting your gifts ready for Halloween next Tuesday, you’d better hurry.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
The highrise hotel with apartments River Oaks District developer OliverMcMillan has been promising for a couple years as a tower feature of a promised second phase of the mixed-use development will be an Equinox, according to documents submitted to the city planning department. There’s already an Equinox fitness club in the River Oaks District, fronting Westheimer; the new Equinox hotel will be on the west side of Westcreek Ln., on the rear parking lot portion of the 3.4-acre Sullivan’s Steakhouse–Le Peep shopping center along Westheimer closer to the West Loop that OliverMcMillan leased almost 2 years ago.
The hotel portion of the site is 1.91 acres and set back from Westheimer. Equinox is seeking a variance from the city to allow the hotel to take access from Westcreek Ln., which further to the north also serves as an entry road for the SkyHouse River Oaks and the Wilshire condo towers.
The variance application doesn’t mention how tall the building will be, but renderings of the imagined hotel dating from 2015 (below) show a structure of approximately 25 stories, with a lower parking garage immediately to the west. A shorter building is shown on the 1.5-acre southern portion of the site facing Westheimer:
A couple of projects on the near and more distant horizons at the corner of Weslayan and W. Alabama turned a reader’s head this week as he passed by the short-skirted base of the 2929 Weslayan highrise. To the west, a sign posted alongside the parking lot of the half-moon-footed 2900 Weslayan office midrise bears a rendering of a new retail building PMRG is planning for the site. A few more views of the 6,500-sq.-ft. project make a somewhat rosy appearance in the new leasing materials for the space:
A waste-no-time tipster briefly stuck on the southbound West Loop earlier this week spent the downtime documenting some of the current activities of various cranes hanging around north of the US 59 junction. On the right is Tilman Fertitta’s The Post Oak, being fleshed out behind the Landry’s headquarters as part of a new mixed-use development; the previously tipped hand of 4 logo diamonds are already being framed at the top: